Chick On a Date

adventures in online and offline dating

Coloring Outside The Usual Lines

I’ve thought of myself a certain way for a long time. I’m educated, fairly intelligent, and I love art, music, literature, and theater. I have a professional career, wear high heels nearly every day, and enjoy a good political debate. Within the past couple years, almost every single man I’ve dated has been very similar to me: I’ve dated professional, highly educated men with a certain mindset. It’s been pretty rare that I’ve been attracted to a guy who is really different from me.

I think this has been a huge mistake.

Yesterday, I received a message from a man on a dating site. I almost didn’t even respond to it, but for some reason, I did. This guy is nothing like the guys I usually date. He is about 10 years older than myself, clearly works out a lot (if the nicely muscled biceps in one of his photos are any indication), works in a mechanical capacity, and rides a Harley. He even has a photo of himself wearing those funny leather chaps things that motorcyclists seem to wear on occasion. I know, right? He actually put “N/A” under the “education” blank on his profile. His profile is short and to the point and — gasp! — includes one major typo and he does that thing I hate where he capitalizes some words that shouldn’t be capitalized. Usually when I get messages from men like this I just respond with a polite “Sorry, I’m not interested” and move on.

But this time, I answered his message. It helps to know that his first message to me included a dare, and I am not one to pass on any challenge, so that’s probably why I answered the way I did. Anyway, all through the day we sent messages back and forth. He is funny and sincere. His messages were generally well-written and made me laugh. By the end of the day, I’d given him my phone number.

What?

And then he called, and we talked for more than three hours. THREE HOURS. At one point he had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. (This is a very, very good thing.) He is smart, interesting, and has done some very cool things in his life. The time just flew by. (This is also a very, very good thing.) It was almost an effort to hang up.

So here’s this guy that I expected to be completely different from me who ended up having more in common with me than I would have ever imagined. I am actually very excited to meet him face-to-face this weekend.

The moral of the story? I need to stop judging books by their covers. Expanding my horizons, as well as my expectations, may just be what I need to find someone I’ll love spending time with. Just because someone doesn’t listen to the music I listen to, or has a job he does with his hands, doesn’t mean we won’t be compatible where it matters. Maybe those differences will make me a more well-rounded person. Maybe differences are what make a relationship really fun and surprising.

I guess I’ll find out.

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Is Age Really Just a Number?

Things are moving along on the dating front. Trying not to burn myself out like I did before, I’m attempting to spread my dates out a bit — there’s nothing more confusing and tiring than having five dates with five different people in one week. I’ve actually forgotten someone’s name while I was with them! Not cool. Last week, however, I did go on three, breaking my rule to go out just once per week with someone new. But those three dates — really just first meetings rather than dates, I guess — were all so completely different and got me thinking if age is an important factor in going out with someone.

My first “date” last week was with someone around my age — about three years older than myself. It was nice. We talked a lot, seemed to have a few things in common, and generally had a pretty good time. This guy was definitely not boring or staid in any way, although it seems as though his job and life experience may contribute quite a bit to his youngish outlook on things. His status as a lifelong, childless bachelor may also skew his viewpoint a bit, I guess; marriage (and the ending of a marriage) and children can age you damn quickly. Although I didn’t really feel a romantic attraction to this person, I found him easy to talk to and he seems like a fun person. Score one point for someone in my age group.

The second “date” was with a man around eight years younger than myself. I think my middle-age insecurities rear their ugly heads whenever I go out with someone more than five or so years younger than myself, so I found myself a little worried about what he would think of me. After all, a woman in her 40s is not the same as a woman in her 20s or 30s. Would he think I looked “old”? Would we have the same frame of reference, a few of the same interests, and things to talk about?

Maybe I worry too much, because this meeting went swimmingly. (Isn’t “swimmingly” a great word?) He was funny, charming, and intelligent. We talked about movies, books, and music and found that we love a lot of the same things. This young’n was flirty as hell, too, and I love that. I didn’t feel “old” when I was with him, and after a while I didn’t even think about his (or my) age at all. He’s a great guy, and yes, I will be seeing him again. Interestingly, he was the only one of the week with whom I shared a good night kiss.

The third “date” I went on last week was with another guy around my age — he’s about a year older than I. And wow, was this guy OLD. This is one of those guys you can tell hasn’t exercised in about ten years or more; he also seemed to be bitter and angry. I know, right? Who acts that way when you first meet someone? He actually steered the conversation around to his relationship with his ex-wife and ranted on and off for a while about how he didn’t get to see his kids as much as he would like. When I tried to talk about his interests, he seemed to enjoy nothing. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with lying around on your La-Z-Boy watching football on occasion, but if you don’t do much else…well, what’s the point? He also talked a lot about his desire to get married again (this guy’s understanding of appropriate first date conversation leaves much to be desired, yes?), and I kept thinking to myself, “Good luck with that, buddy.”

So two out of three of my dates last week were good. And those two involved men who are rather far apart in age (by around 12 years). Neither of those two men seemed less or more mature than the other. Neither of them seemed more or less interesting, funny, or confident.  Within the past couple years I’ve dated people as much as nine or ten years older than myself and around ten years younger, as well as a lot of men around my own age. And what have I learned from this experience?

I’ve learned that, yes, age really IS just a number. Individuals are individuals; although one guy at 50 may seem old, another guy at 50 may seem youthful. It’s the interests, the curiosity, the desire to really live that make the difference. It’s knowing that music didn’t stop being relevant the year you turned 20, and that you can still enjoy physical activities, and that you don’t always have to be a grownup. So although I’m probably not going to be dating any men in their 20s and probably not any in their 60s, I’ve decided that age really doesn’t matter all that much.

 

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Could We Just Have Fun?

Ever been on a date where you felt like you were being interviewed?

I mean, I get it. I’m no spring chicken myself. And many of us feel like we really need to hurry up and find a boyfriend/girlfriend before we get so old all hope is gone. I hear ya, people. But could we just relax a little and have some fun?

Recently, I went out for a drink with a very nice man. We had had a couple of phone conversations previously that went pretty well. There was some fun banter, comfortable conversion about jobs, kids, all that stuff. All good there.

But…

…then came the first meeting.

It started off innocuously enough. We did one of those quick “nice to meet you” hugs, sat down with our drinks, and then… the interview began.

Him: How long have you been in Minnesota?

Me: Almost two years.

Him: Where were you before that?

Me: Iowa.

Him: How about before that?

And on. And on. There was no actual conversation; just him asking questions and me responding. And no, he didn’t really want me to expound on any of my answers. It was like he had a list he needed to get through to figure out if I was worth his time. I actually started to get nervous for a while there.

When did dating stop being fun and start being so damn serious? Is there a reason we can’t just lighten up and enjoy each other’s company? I don’t need to know everything about a man the first time I meet him; usually I’ll figure out if I want to see him again and if I want to know more just by talking to him like a normal person. With time, we’ll get to know each other, right?

Sure, I want someone in my life; it would be cool to find a partner in crime. But I refuse to give up having fun on a date to get there. Needless to say, I won’t be seeing Mr. Interviewer again. So there.

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Why? Just… Why?

Sometimes I wonder why I try.

In my online profile, I point out a few things that I believe, think, feel, value…whatever. Some of these things might be deal-breakers for some guys, and I feel there’s no use wasting each other’s time if we really have major philosophical differences. Some of those things include:

  • I’m a vegan
  • I’m liberal (politically)
  • I love animals and believe strongly in animal rights
  • I am a teacher
  • I love art, literature, museums, theater, film, and dance
I’m not radical about any of these things. I believe in “live and let live.” I’ve dated omnivores, and I’m fine with it as long as he respects my food choices as I respect his; I don’t mind if a guy isn’t a big reader (although my most successful relationships have always been with men who like to read); and I won’t force anyone to go to the opera or a ballet if that’s not their thing. I enjoy a man who brings something a little different to the table. I try to understand his interests and maybe join him in some of them if he doesn’t mind. I think that’s fair and open-minded, don’t you?

But there are some things I just couldn’t live with. And some guys just don’t give a damn.

I just received this message from a potential suitor:

“Hey beautiful! I would love to get to know you. You don’t like hunters and I want to know why. I hunt and it is lots of fun. I do it for sport. Do you understand how fun sports can be? Museums? No thank you. But I will take you shopping, even though I don’t like it. Where do you like to shop?

 I just bought a [sic] awesome leather jacket to ware [sic] on my motorcycle. I do not like to read and think that must be boring. You need a man like me to get you out and show you how to really live!!!! What kind of dancing do you do? I would like to get together for a glass of wine soon if you would like. You seem like a great woman!!! PS: I vote republican always.”

I did not change any of his wording.

I rest my case.

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